Tools and Resources

Tanning beds: Safer than the sun?

Are tanning beds safer than natural sunlight?

Tanning beds don't offer a safe alternative to natural sunlight.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation damages your skin, whether the exposure comes from tanning beds or natural sunlight. This damage increases the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging. In fact, tanning beds emit UVA rays which might increase the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

If you'd like the golden glow of a tan without exposure to damaging UV radiation, consider using a sunless tanning product. Avoid tanning beds, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen whenever you're outdoors.

Updated: 6/4/2013

© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to content provided to this site by MayoClinic.com/Mayo Clinic Health Information. Use thereof signifies your agreement to these terms of use.